Red Earth

There were two disturbing, but unsurprising, headlines in the NY Times today.

The first, "The National Parks Under Seige" details how the management policy of the National Parks Service, which has been largely unchanged since the service was created, is being re-written in favor of (surprise!) commercialization in the face of conservation. It eases pollution controls, removes rules requiring motorized vehicles to have the "least possible impact," and requires park service employees to go through Washington for promotions. The engineer of this policy? Paul Hoffman, "a former Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and a former head of the Cody, Wyo., chamber of commerce."

The second, "Artic Map Vanishes, and Oil Area Expands" is truly amazing. A 1970's map of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has vanished, and the new map, drawn up by the USGS prior to legislation regarding drilling for oil in the refuge, conveniently excludes indiginous peoples' lands which had been a barrier to opening up the area. While the Times does a nice job keeping the article as factual as possible, it's still hard to imagine a more compelling conspiracy theory. Hollywood couldn't do better.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls Bush "the worst environmental president in our nation's history" while discussing his new book, "Crimes Against Nature." Paul Krugman has said that Bush "values loyalty above expertise."

Even though his political capital is drying up amid plumetting approval ratings, I fear the the worst is yet to come. This administrations neverending cronyism and quid pro quo politics is truly appalling. The decision making process is more akin to a school boy choosing a wiffle ball team at recess; the best players are left on the sidelines, while the ranks are filled with friends, siblings, and sycophants.

I can't wait for this recess to be over.


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